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Spaceward Studios Retrospective

Part of the history of Sintefex Audio - this is Spaceward Studios before and after the move in 1981. Spaceward Studios was founded by Mike Kemp and Gary Lucas during the '70's and was located in a basement in Victoria Street, Cambridge, where they recorded a vast array of artists from the mid '70's through to the late '80's. The studio moved to the Old School Stretham in 1981 where the second picture was taken. This building went on to house the off-shoot company Spaceward Microsystems Ltd which innovated cost effective broadcast quality graphics to the television industry, and later Studio Audio and Video Ltd which brought state of the art digital audio editing to the desktop with its SADiE digital audio editor / workstation (DAW).

Pictured here in Victoria Street is Mike Kemp in about 1979 at the controls of the amazing expanding mixer desk surrounded by 16-track, several 2-tracks and plethora of out-board gear.


About 1981, after the move to the village of Stretham, about 10 miles north of Cambridge, this picture shows the famous in-house designed and built microprocessor controlled 56 input desk, the Studer A80 24-track, and various outboard gear. You can just make out the original in-house 16-track hiding behind the desk. Monitoring was on B&W 801s later changed for 808's and augmented by a pair of JBL 4343s and Yamaha NS10s. Mastering was onto Studer B67 1/4" using Dolby A throughout until the PCM F1 arrived when material was usually digitally mastered. The most complex session was Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin's "Busy Doing Nothing" engineered by Ted Hayton when a second Studer 24 track was synced up. Dave also produced and Ted engineered Nigel Planer's alter ego Neil from "The Young Ones" with his hit "Hole In My Shoe" here. In this room Mike also co-produced the Stranglers single "Always the Sun" and their 1986 album "Dreamtime". Notable assistants on this album were Ted Hayton and Owen Morris. Even after the studio was closed the Stranglers made a return visit in 1992 for much of the recording of the album "In The Dark", produced by Mike.

Another view of the studio in Stretham after installing JBL monitors for the hard of hearing. This is in about 1982.

Mark Graham (Studio Manager) burning the midnight oil circa 1984. Visit his graphics and music site.

Studio equipment card from about 1984 (thanks to Mark Graham)

Mark Graham has created a Spaceward Studio information site, including discographies, history, recordings, etc. Please take a look)

Spaceward Studios was host to many bands of the 70's and 80's, and in addition much of the gear went on the road from time to time to provide high quality sound reinforcement in venues from rain-soaked folk festivals to the Royal Albert Hall. Some links to bands involved with Spaceward are here...
Ashley Hutching's Albion Dance Band
Hugh Cornwell
Robyn Hitchcock
Iron Maiden
Jakko Jakszyk
Katrina and the Waves
The Mekons
Gary Numan (Warning: going to this page (stupidly) disables the back button)
Kimberley Rew
Mandy Morton
Modern English
The Soft Boys
Stiff Little Fingers
The Stranglers

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